Monday, March 31, 2008

Spring Surprise

This beautiful little flower popped up in the front garden this morning. I have no idea what it is. Can anyone help me? There is only one. Hmmmmm Did I forget about something I planted or did a garden fairy plunk one pretty little bulb into this flower bed? It is a very pleasant surprise. Thank you to who ever did this. I hope it multiplies. Now these white hyacinths I remember planting. I had some other colors out here too but they must have given up the good fight in the drought last summer. These white ones held on. I am happy about this too.
Our Magnolia is just begging for a little bit of sun and it will be popping open. I can't wait for the show because it isn't supposed to freeze anytime soon. This year the Magnolia should be spectacular.

It is amazing how each day during the spring warm up something new is budding or blooming every day. I can't wait to get out there tomorrow and see if the forsythia is open. Just a little sunshine is all we need. Did I already say that? About the sunshine I mean. Yes, we need sun.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lizards in the Garden

This time of year brings out all creatures great and small it seems. Nina over at Nature Remains is doing a study of a vernal pool on her property. I think it is so facinating all the creatures she is finding in this pool that are already reproducing. If, like me you find this sort of study of wildlife interesting you should check out her site. All of her talk of Spotted Salamanders has made me wonder why I don't have more lizards in our garden. I try to be as organic as possible. Where I used to live I had those little black lizards that had the habit of dropping their tails if I got a hold of one. This was rare becasue they were so wary but it was fun seeing them skittering around the edges of the flower beds. Unfortunately the ones pictured here are the only lizards I have in the garden. The above lizard is 'Metalic Whiptail' and the one below is 'Mexican Fiesta". Do you have lizards in your garden?
One of my favorite trips to Texas was during summer and I got to see many lizards there. It was lizard heaven. This was before I had a digital camera so I don't have pictures to show you. Those big spiny lizards are so interesting as were the really colorful almost neon looking lizards. I wish I knew more about them. I hope that any of you that go to the Austin Spring Fling will bring back pictures of any of the lizards you see.
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An edit... Be sure to look at Monarch's Blog if you want to see more Salamander pictures. He knows where to find them too.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Tiptoe through the tulips

When we got to the city park this morning for our walk about I thought things were going to be the same ole thing...water water everywhere.... At least I knew we weren't going to sit around and enjoy the view much...





When we walked to the other end of the park we were pleasantly surprised when we found that this magnolia was beginning to bloom. Was it ever a sight for sore eyes. You can just imagine my delight when I saw this pinkish bloom in the gloom. It had lots of these buds just waiting for the sun to coax them into bloom. Aren't these just beautiful? They almost look like a rose ready to unfurl.

I wasn't totally surpised that I found something blooming at the park becasue when we departed from home I saw that there were some tulips up with buds just waiting to be coaxed open with some sunshine.



What I was surprised with was when we arrived home from the park we had tulips open. Whooooo Hoooooo Now this looks like spring time. All we need is a little more sunshine. The sun decided to grace us with its presence for a few hours this afternoon. A most welcome sensation. It is amazing how a little sunshine can raise the spirits and open the blooms. Don't you just love to look down on those little tulips and see them open wide. All we need now are some bees buzzing around. These are our first tulips blooming this spring. They seem to get shorter every year but I don't have the heart to pull them out. They are so cheerful.




Thursday, March 27, 2008

Counting Blessings on a Mucky Day

This morning we got out and did some birding after we took Luna to the park for her daily walk. I didn't take my camera to the park, darn it, there was the longest nightcrawler I had seen in quite some time going across the street. It was sprinkling on us the entire time we were out.

We decided to take a little drive south of town where we look for shorebirds during spring migration. Yes spring migration has begun even though it is still spitting snow and freezing cold up north. Unfortunately we couldn't get to some of our prime birding areas because of all the rain we have been having. What you see below is the White River over a county road. No getting through here even in our truck. This photo below is the farmers field just to the left of the above sign. This road is probably a half mile from the White River.On the floatsam along the edge of the road my Dearly Beloved got a picture of an American Pipit. These birds nest way up in the mountains or out on the tundra up north. It is always a treat to find some in the fields during spring migration. There were other birds in the flooded fields too. Lesser Yellowlegs, Golden Plovers and Pectoral Sandpipers to name a few. Most were fueling up for a long flight northward. It was impossible to get pictures of all of the birds due to the rain coming down.You can be happy that you are living where you are because these people that park up on the high road are just waiting to get to their houses when the water goes down. There is a nice little community of River loving people that live along this stretch of the White River and when the water is up like this they park their vehicles up on this county road.
Some travel out to their houses in jon boats or canoes.
This is one of the houses that are being spared the flooding since it is built up high enough.
These are the less fortunate ones.
Not far from these homes is another road that leads out into a field and as you can see it will be some time before the farmers can get to their fields to plant anything or to even prepare to plant. All I can say is I am happy to be high and dry at this time. I hope you all are too.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Slogging Ahead

I can't tell you how happy this pile of leaves made me feel when I got home from work tonight. I have been fighting allergies and working so I haven't been able to get out into the garden to do much lately. As you will see plants are going ahead with their agenda and my Dearly Beloved has tried to get some of the leaf mulch out of areas he is comfortable working in, like the knot garden. There were several of these piles of leaves around that after dinner I scooped up and put into the compost just before it started raining. UGH We just stopped squishing through the garden and we have several days of rain to look forward to so says the weather people. My best performer in the garden at this time is the freckled Hellebore. It is just blooming its little heart out.

The daffodils must have sensed that I was becoming a little impatient with them so some of them started to bloom. This cluster of daffodils are remarkable. I know I can hear you saying well, they look awfully common. I'm not going to argue that but these daffodils are remarkable in that these are some leftover bulbs that I just threw on top of the ground several years ago when I dug up a big clump to seperate and got tired of planting. I threw them here thinking I would get back to planting at some time and didn't ever do it. There was a big bush here that I am ashamed to say hid a lot of, ummm, things I didn't want to deal with at the moment. Do you have any spaces like that? Behind a garage or behind a big old bush in the corner of your garden?? I think what helped them most is that I would throw leaves and sticks here to keep "until later". Finally we took out the bush and the daffodils started blooming. They were so grateful for a little sun. Why I even pulled the weeds from around them. I might even get around to moving them since there are other bushes now planted in this area and they will be shaded too much again soon. That is something I can do "later". By this little group of daffodils you can see the varigated sedum is beginning to rear up. I keep having to dig out the all green reversions. I don't like the way a lot of my varigated plants seeem to revert. I wonder if it is the soil here or do all varigated plants eventually revert back to their mother plants?
Amongst the naked ladies the tall garden phlox is popping up. I can think of several places I would like to move a hunk of the phlox. It smells so good when blooming in late summer. I need some up by the patio. And in answer to your question Barbara about whether I worry about the lillies freezing outside this time of year, No I don't worry. You see they are under the front porch roof and with the brick on the front of the house holding heat it would have to get very cold to actually damage the lillies. They are quite happy sitting here with their feet covered with purple pansies and yellow violas. I will wait until it is steadily warm to put them out into the garden. Which should be in about 3 weeks. We have had frost several nights this past week but they don't seem to mind their location. So here is hoping they will be ok.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Minatures in bloom

Trying to pick a bouquet of flowers for a bouquet to take to my Sister's house for a hostess gift was nearly impossible yesterday. The wind blew cold it was overcast and we had snow showers with hail thrown in for a wintery mix. Did someone say it was spring? Sure could have fooled me. Our purple crocus finally decided to bloom. They bloom a little later than the big yellow crocus. This is good so we have a few spots of color around for a longer time.
The minature daffodils are the only daffodils that dare show their pretty little faces in this kind of weather. I did manage to pick a few to put with some pussy willow for a minature bouquet.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Color for Easter

With all of that sunshine yesterday I couldn't ignore the urge to plant something in the garden. Since the ground was too wet to even walk on in most placess I could think of only one alternative, plant some pansies.



The planter on the front porch was screaming that it was tired of this winter look. All was yawning or actually dead and gone.



After all we wouldn't want the Easter Bunny to pass us by just because it still looked like winter on the front porch.



I found some pansies and violas at the big box store plus some gorgeous yellow lillies. This combination gave us a big shot of color that I don't mind telling you we needed.

So we went from winter drabness in the planter on the front porch to something to give a cheerful welcome to all who come to call on us this spring.

Of course I bought a few more than I actually needed for this big green planter. I always seem to overestimate the size of this planter. It was a happy accident since I could plant up a couple more smaller planters.


The only sad thing is that the stores don't have any spillers available yet. I guess those spillers are just a little too delicate to be out yet.

I want to wish everyone a Happy, Healthy, Blessed Easter. I hope the only bunny that comes to your garden is the Easter Bunny.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

First Day of Spring

What a difference a day makes. Spring decided to enter into our area with sunshine, blue skies and warm temps. Believe me it was much appreciated after the past few days. The garden has fairly well drained. Just a little water in the back corner but that is to be expected. Just look how green the grass is after all of the rain.Despite the frost that covered everything this morning we had a nice little addition to the blooms in the garden. This hellebore has opened some of its lovely little blooms. Doesn't that blue sky make your heart go pitty patter. After days of gray I can't tell you how much I appreciate these blue skies.
As you can see in the closeup it has freckles. Isn't it a little cutie?? Some of the daylilies have jumped up. These are at least 6 inches tall.
The white crocus has opened. I think they are such a beautiful color of white.
On the other end of the color wheel we have black mud, and lots of it. The only tracks I could find were dog tracks. Small dog tracks and...
Large dog tracks. Unfortunately you can find these same tracks in the house on the white carpet. UGH

I want to leave you with a happier thought on this first day of spring. Just look at this Hellebore that the was stompted into the ground by the removal of the downed pine trees. It has sprouted up a big new leaf and there are several smaller leaves making their way into the sunshine. there is even a bud or two trying to form.
This poor little Hellebore won't give up so all of us fighting the elements must do the same. Don't give up. Brighter, warmer days will be aplenty soon.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Brighter Note

On a brighter note this evening... The forsythia stems I brought in with the pussy willow are now open. It is wonderful that when the rain stopped the fosythia decided to burst into bloom. Not only that but the fuzzy
catkins have become actual flowers. Aren't they pretty?? It was difficult to get a decent picture of them. Most of the fuzzy wuzzies have fallen off the stems and a few of these blooms remain. I hope everyone is high and dry tonight. Our garden is s l o w l y emptying out. It will be some time before I can do anything outside.

Rain, rain and more rain

Tuesday morning after I went to work Dearly Beloved got on weather underground to see how much rain we had received. Well, it was 2inches so he decided to take pictures. The water it was collecting in the places. By the time I got home from work we had received more rain. I got out and took some late afternoon pictures. Wow you can see that it isn't exactly soaking in.
In this photo taken in the morning you can see the bottom of the gate and a little bit of grass in this area.
After I got home the bottom of the gate is nearly submerged and I can't or rather don't want to walk through the water to get the same angle that DB took earlier. Vinny doesn't seem to mind. After all he saw a squirrel out here just a few minutes before. He is always on guard.
This side of the garden earlier isn't just too bad. Over behind that tree, beyond the fence is a storm drain.
A little different angle but even Luna tries to take the high ground to walk in this area. The storm drain must be full it isn't working very fast.
All of the paths in the back garden are submerged. You can see that the flower gardens have been built up over the years with compost and mulch. Water water everywhere and we are to have rain all day wednesday too. Quack quack, I mean have a good day anyway.
P.S. sorry about the water spots on the camera lens. I should have taken an umbrella out with me. duh... I am not going back out there. Don't try to make me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Progress in Storm Remodel

My Dearly Beloved decided it was time to get outside to remove the big yews at the end of the patio. We have to do this to carry out my "vision" of the remodel of the area where the big pines fell this winter. We don't have room in our little garden for these big boys so they have to go. The only ones that will miss them are all the house sparrows that use them for roosts and hides to keep away from the Cooper's Hawks. The big black cat will miss them too becasue it likes to hide from Luna in here while stalking the feeder birds. The larger of the two cut down to size for removal.

We had to cut them both back so DB could work around the larger one.

Here is the first brute removed. It is amazing how few roots the brute had. It was quite manageable. Of course I wasn't on the working end of the shovel so I can say that. :) We had quite a hole to backfill. Actually we had two of them. The other bush came out the same way. A clean pallete. I can't hardly wait to get out there and start planting. Of course the fence has to be fixed. It's always something.Of course no job is completed without the Overseer keeping her eye on progress. This time we also had the Guard on duty to protect us from any squirrels that might venture into the area.